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Monday, September 2, 2013

The Swing That's Chasing Sergio

Today it'll be chasing Sergio in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, but Henrik Stenson's swing has been chasing everybody for the last few months. The Big Swede has slowly rebuilt his game until he's right there almost every week. Today I thought we'd take a quick look at his swing.

Here's a slo-mo video from roughly 4 months ago -- right around the time he started his move into contention.

Henrik works with European Teacher Pete Cowen, whom Billy Harmon called the #1 European golf instructor and one of the three best in the world (along with Butch Harmon and Sean Foley). Cowen teaches more of a classic swing than a modern one, which means he uses the upper body rather than the lower body as a golf swing's primary power source.

Let's make sure you're clear on one thing: Just because your upper body is the primary power source in a classic golf swing does NOT mean that the lower body doesn't start moving first in the downswing. As I have said on more than one occasion, it is physically impossible for you to make a correct swing without your lower body moving first. You need the friction of your feet against the ground to start your body turning. It's just that in the classic swing the lag between the lower and upper body isn't as noticeable -- or, to put it another way, it looks as if your upper and lower body start turning at almost the same time.

You can see this in the face-on view of Henrik's swing in the video. There's no big forward move of his lower body before his upper body starts the downswing. If you look very closely (right around the 1:10 mark) you can see his hips move ever-so-slightly before his upper body starts down. And bear in mind that you need slo-mo to see this slight difference! At full speed it's barely noticeable.

At the 1:14 mark you can see that Henrik's weight appears pretty evenly distributed between his feet. In other words, Henrik is balanced. He's not leaning backward nor sliding forward at this point, which you see in a lot of players who drive their lower bodies hard to start the swing.

The result of this is that Henrik converts almost all of his effort into rotation -- and therefore club head speed. And he doesn't move backward or forward over the ball, which translates into more consistent contact. The combination of the two sends the ball a looong, looong way.

In other words, Henrik isn't wasting his effort moving his body around. Rather, he focuses on swinging the club. The results make the difference pretty clear!

You can learn a lot from Henrik -- even if you aren't a 6'1" Swede weighing nearly 200 pounds. Don't lunge at the ball -- swing the club!!!

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